What would our science be without art? Fossils make for great photos, but a key part of paleontology is our ability to reconstruct long-dead organisms as living, functioning beings. In this episode, we’re joined by paleoartist and herpetologist Gabriel Ugueto as we discuss the many ways artists attempt to recreate ancient species through Paleoart.
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Paleoart: Reconstructing the Past
Paleoart is a subset of scientific illustration that aims to use scientific data from fossils and living animals to recreate ancient organisms and ecosystems. Paleoart can include sprawling paintings of past ecosystems, detailed sculptures of extinct species, 2D and 3D animations of ancient creatures in motion, and so on.
For as long as people have been digging up fossils, there have been attempts to artfully recreate the creatures that left them behind. Here are some of the biggest names in the history of paleoart:
Charles R. Knight (1874-1953)
Rudolph F. Zallinger (1919-1995)
Gregory S. Paul (1954-Present)
Nowadays, there are more paleoartists than ever before, including our special guest, Gabriel Ugueto:
There are many, many amazing paleoartists out there. Here’s a short list, including several named in the episode!
John Conway (Twitter)
Darren Naish (Twitter)
Emily Willoughby (Twitter)
Mark Witton (Twitter)
Danielle Dufault (Twitter)
Matthew Martyniuk (Twitter)
Julius Csotonyi (Twitter)
Andrey Atuchin (Twitter)
Jed Taylor (Twitter)
This list is nowhere near complete. If you have a favorite who isn’t on the list, name them in the comments!
For more about paleoart in general, check out these links:
New Visions of Ancient Creatures, Science Friday (featuring Gabriel!)
How dinosaurs are brought back to life – through art, National Geographic
Paleoart: the strange history of dinosaurs in art, The Guardian
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